wor aeaCer /D stair Holly Brims, Steev Custer, Chris Derrick, Maria Mellinger, Dawn Simmons, John Stobart, Virginia Strouse In order to get a selection published in this issue, four of the above had to vote for acceptance. For the award winners, only John Stobart is responsible. Manuscripts or cover designs for AeaZer /O wordeacer must be submitted to John Stobart in room C-1069 by : APRIL 26, 1991 Manuscripts will not be returned and SHOULD BE TYPED. ^^^gggg^^gg^ ^^^SSg^^ ss^ AWARDS PROSE— $5 Each to: Steev Custer Maria Mellinger Shane Van Veghel POETRY— $5 Each to: Lora Baker Holly Bruns Jeff Hicks Bethany Jackson Eric Jensen Maria Mellinger Donica Rampa COVERS— $10 Each to: Steev Custer (Back) Janis Fabris (Front) 1 All copyrights are retained by the authors, and materials may not be reprinted without their permission. TABLE OF CONTENTS Maria Mellingcr The Smell of Patchouli Oil ii Jeff DeGrave Spanish Haiku Trilogy ii Maria Mellinger Try To Remember ii Maria Mellinger You Ask Me What I'm Thinking 1 Jeff DeGrave You Not Make Fun Of 1 Maria Mellinger I Wrote A Poem 1 Maria Mellinger The Night Kissed Me 1 Maria Mellinger I Have A Bruise 1 Holly Bruns Has Anybody Seen My Neurons? 1 Connie Legters The Victim 3 Holly Bruns No Wonder I'm Nuts 4 Maria Mellinger After You Had Gone 4 Maria Mellinger When We Held A Funeral 4 Maria Mellinger But You Know That Already 5 Jeff DeGrave This Is the American Upgrade 5 Maria Mellinger We'll Just Write To Each Other 5 NOTE: The preceding were accepted for WORDEATER 74 but space limitations prevented their being printed in that issue. Lora Baker Memories of You 5 Steev Custer Will U Ever Know? 5 Dawn Simmons Wish You Were Here 5 Bethany Jackson Not Unlike 5 Jameson S. Turner Stranded 6 Maria Mellinger If I Made A Chain of Daisies 6 Nicole L. Bymside Let Go 6 David Tieman The Summer Spoke 6 Maria Mellinger Your Little Tinman 6 Judy Belfield Another Year In A Day 6 Sue' Cherven Nemesis II 7 Dawn Simmons Headlights 7 Maria Mellinger It Took A Long Time 7 Frank Sanchez Almost 7 Carol Spinabella Head '0' Air 7 Maria Mellinger Like A Ghost 7 Steev Custer Word Processor Love 7 Terry Rogers Any Weekday Night 8 Maria Mellinger You Have Wrapped Yourself 8 Donica Rampa Kiss? 8 Tina M. Plunk The Gift of Wings 8 Maria Mellinger The Ugly Girls At the Party 8 Martin Nieznanski Azathoth 8 Bethany Jackson Heaven Sent 9 Eric Jensen Another Proverb 9 Dawn Mooney Turning Up the Volume 9 Lisa Bucciarelli On Life 9 Maria Mellinger Cold Air 9 Judy Belfield Embroideries 9 Jeff DeGrave A Paradoxical Goodbye 9 Maria Mellinger It's Always So Early 10 Chris Derrick Memories of Green 10 Maria Mellinger Independence 10 Jeff Hicks Questions of Night 10 Holly Bruns Verbal Metamorphosis 10 Maria Mellinger Shane Van Veghel Jeffrey Michael B Maria Mellinger Maria Mellinger Steev Custer Maria Mellinger Holly Bruns Lora Baker David Tieman Jameson Turner Jeff Hicks Judy Belfield Dawn Simmons Sailor Jeffrey Michael B Maria Mellinger Frank Sanchez Maria Mellinger Connie Legters Donica Rampa Maria Mellinger Terry Rogers Eric Jensen Jeff DeGrave Dawn Mooney Maria Mellinger Nicole L. Bymside Lisa Bucciarelli Bethany Jackson Chris Derrick Martin Nieznanski Maria Mellinger Dawn Simmons Lora Baker Steev Custer Maria Mellinger Lisa Bucciarelli Maria Mellinger Frank Sanchez Jeff Hicks Tina M. Plunk Eric Jensen Judy Belfield Steev Custer Maria Mellinger Shane Van Veghel Bethany Jackson David Tieman Steev Custer Jameson Turner Martin Nieznanski Nicole L. Bymside Maria Mellinger Judy Belfield Holly Bruns Devils Are Winds The Tree Seemed To Glow Longing In Your Hollow You Once Asked Me 11 11 11 12 Earth Day, 1990/Central Park, NYC 12 Fluorescent Heavens A Simple Tale Starvation Lately My Life The Fourth of July That Moved Bleeding Society Nonsense Loss of Faith Perhaps Let Them Dream Untitled Visitation Rights Eyelens You Capture My Attention Murmurs Listen Up My City Is Still Je Jove Les Tambours Pour ' Vous ' Frostbite I Must Apologize With You The Old Inventor Against Time A Lie Is Like The Hidden Within Horrorshow Mandella How, Exactly To Jay Heavy Metal Music Hand Written Poem 2 Your Eyes I Once Knew A Boy Winona, Minnesota Call of Winter Silent Wagon He Played Summer Companions Paralysis Cracked Sture, Birgitta, and Nick Rhodes Meretz Was Tired of Standing Beautiful Suicide Smoking Syndrome Accompaniment: Key of C in Thirds The Three-Legged Journeyman Strange A Recipe For War The Poetry Prize Summation Cocktail Party Conversations 12 13 13 15 16 16 16 16 16 17 17 17 17 18 18 18 18 18 18 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 22 23 24 25 25 25 26 26. 26 26 27 (continued on next page ) Wordeater 75 Spnng, 1991 TABLE OF CONTENTS, continued Maria Mellinger Frank Sanchez Terry Rogers Jeffrey Michael B Maria Mellinger Jeff DeGrave Bethany Jackson Maria Mellinger David Tieman Dawn Mooney Holly Bruns Donica Rampa Martin Nieznanski Terry Rogers Jeff Hicks Tina M. Plunk Maria Mellinger Holly Bruns Eric Jensen Chris Derrick Dawn Mooney Jeff Hicks Steev Custer Jeff DeGrave Maria Mellinger Steev Custer David Tieman Donica Rampa Maria Mellinger Martin Nieznanski David Tieman David Tieman Dawn Simmons Eric Jensen Maria Mellinger Jeffrey Michael B Donica Rampa Dawn Simmons Steev Custer Holly Bruns David Tieman Holly Bruns Holly Bruns David Tieman Eric Jensen Steev Custer Jeff DeGrave Jeff Hicks Bethany Jackson David Tieman My Little Sawdust Heart 27 The Matter of Me .27 Dream Outback 27 Credo (Cities In Dust) 28 I Try To Remember Our Past 28 My Friend Seine 28 700 Ways To Die 29 My Young Friend 29 Untitled 29 Isn't It Strange 29 Winter Blahs 29 Gone 29 Brainwashed 30 September 1988 30 Child's Play 30 Going East On Interstate 80 30 Somewhere Off of County Line Road 30 Hidden In A Plastic Groove 30 A Solitary Shadow 3 1 I Still Believe 31 Mementos Left Astray 3 1 Technicolor Silence 31 Punk Rock Love Poem 3 1 There's That Big, Black Trunk 32 You Were Such A Pretty Boy 32 If I Could Only Say Hello 3 2 Lottery Loser 32 Bubble-Gum Pink 32 He Loaded Up His Six Guns 32 The Dream Catcher 33 I 33 The Candy Store 33 Dear Abby 33 Inward Formlessness 33 He Coughed Up Intelligence 33 Bekrives (Selected Verses) 34 Cold Fire 34 Red Leaf 34 Calamity 34 Synthetic Tomb 35 She's Got the Blues 35 Am I Ersatz Dragon, Or Is It You? 3 5 Little Brown Baby 36 Bubbles 36 Unconscious Tomorrow 36 I Remember Home... 36 Why Would A Man Climb A Mountain? 36 Dance 37 Alone With Him (The Black Rose) 37 Nothing 37 Maria Mellinger THE SMELL OF PATCHOULI OIL The smell of patchouli oil on your sweater that I was wearing, The smell of the bonfire (the backyard Indians, You called us), The smell of fear — because you were sitting so close to me And we're not supposed To fall in love... This is what Friendship smells like? NOTE: Again, space has prevented the appearance of all items accepted for this issue. Look for work by Holly Bruns, Steev Custer, Jeff Hicks, Maria Mellinger, and Martin Nieznanski in WORDEATER 76. Wordeater 75 « « « « » » » » Jeff DeGrave SPANISH HAIKU TRILOGY Este haiku es para los hispanicos en esta clase (The next haiku has been created to translate the previous one) This haiku goes out to all of the hispanic people in this class « « « « » » » » Maria Mellinger TRY TO REMEMBER Try to remember A grade school field trip. Sitting next to the first Real person who actually said, "I like you," The bus accidentally Bumping you into each other. Now that was touching. That was love. And the only pressure Was that of the teacher's eyes Separating the two of you. ««««»»»» Spnng, 1991 Maria Mellinger YOU ASK ME WHAT I'M THINKING You ask me what I'm thinking and I reply, "Little things," like. What kind of dog will we buy How will I ever move my things out of my parents' house What will we do with our duplicate albums. You ask me what I'm thinking and I think. Anything to forget how little Is the time that we have. « « « « » » » » Jeff DeGrave YOU NOT MAKE FUN OF You not make fun of Oliental poetly. Vely selious! Maria Mellinger THE NIGHT KISSED ME « « « « » » » » Maria Mellinger I WROTE A POEM I wrote a poem, and rather than read it and knit my words into a cloak for you to wear, you asked who and why and where. Very well. Allow me to explain. Poetry is all about a man named Bob who lives in Albuquerque because of the economic opportunities available there. He likes football, beef jerky, and white Jockey shorts line-dried and ironed after washing. He watches 10 hours of television daily, drinks Old Style, and takes perverted pleasure in the way his big toe pokes out of his old wool socks. And that's just the beginning... Now I hope you can enjoy my poems, knowing the inspiration behind each of them. And I hope you can keep warm In this literary winter without a cloak. Now that the mystery has unraveled. The night kissed me with his needle sharp mosquito tongue, draining me of my blood and my love, leaving me dry and empty by dawn. ««««»»»» ««««»»»» Worde»ter 75 Maria Mellinger I HAVE A BRUISE I have a bruise From the last time we spoke, Or rather, Screamed. When it was new it was like a mistake, A funny glove on my flesh, Part of a Halloween costume I couldn't peel off. When it turned blue I though of your face And how I couldn't see your eyes, Only a hand coming towards me; But your eyes were probably black at that moment, Buried in our argument Or burnt With lies. And now as the bruise fades, You fade. Each day the skin beneath is Less sensitive to your touch And soon it will b healed. Holly Bruns HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY NEURONS? Frequently, I wonder how certain ideas or thoughts or pieces of knowledge can float around in a person's head and never connect themselves to each other to form something different, enlighten the owner of the contents, or just plain fall into place to make sense out of some- thing that has never made sense. Like timid little (continued) l Spnng, 1991 Has Anybody Seen My Neurons? continued neuron spiders, they cling to the attics and crawl spaces in a brain. I know that my own neurons are playing this hide- and-seek game with me. I'd have them flogged if I could find them and put my hands on them. Or would I? Perhaps, if I could find them, it would be better to give them lots of positive reinforcement, warm fuzzies, and forgiveness for dodging me. Maybe they don't realize they're torturing me. It could be that they truly are only playing, and I just don't know how to play along. Stodgy mistress of neuron estate, and my lively, cre- ative subjects are unable to approach me. My limited thinking is correct, it hasn't always been like this. I believe at one time in my life I played along and knew the game quite well. As a child, I knew trees that spoke, and ghosts that lived in the bomb shel- ter my dad made under the basement stairs. These ghosts drank Kool-Aid and feasted on Tinker Toy/Lincoln Log stew. I was sure that my cereal pieces belonged in fami- ly groups with parents and siblings. I always swallowed at least three pieces of cereal at once, but more often I swallowed them in groups of five. Most families con- sisted of five members, I remember thinking, just like mine. They had to be swallowed together so none of them would die alone. It made perfect sense to me and my loyal neuron subjects quite agreed and readily played along. I could fly back then. Although I had never been in an airplane before, I knew exactly what the earth looked like from three-thousand feet. I knew what it felt like to float on a cool easy breeze, just below the clouds. I had even mastered powerful take-offs and graceful landings. I landed in very interesting places at will. Once, I landed at this Akron City Zoo and was im- mediately eaten by a black, woolly, grizzly bear. The on-lookers and by-standers were flabbergasted. I watched them tremble and stare with their mouths wide open and their eyes panicky. I made these observations while carelessly moving back and forth on the swing connected to the bear's uvula (that's that little thing that hangs down in the back of the throat). I was swinging and humming a song, watching the watchers watching the bear to see what he'd do next. I could see them through a one-way mirror conveniently installed in the bear's neck. At one point, my mother was a watcher. Crying convulsively, she called my name and reached through the bars of the cage as if she could somehow pull me back. Maybe, I thought, she should have been paying me more attention and this might not have happened. I wasn't worried. I knew I'd pass through the huge grizzly and see the light of day again just like that nickel my Worduter 75 sister swallowed. The nickel was found a day or two later by Mom, the newly appointed poop inspector. I figured if Mom was patient, she'd find me too, in a day or two. I wanted to yell out, "Just hang on, Mom. I';; be sitting on the cold concrete floor in a couple of days and you can take me home and polish me up in the bath- tub and give me lots of attention and Fig Newton cook- ies." But she left too soon, thinking I had been chewed to bits, never to be seen again. My mom was just too impatient and fatalistic. Or was that my dad? I get the two mixed up at times. I guess it didn't matter to me then. I just waited to be expelled and flew somewhere else. Five years old and always on a synaptic creative mission in the land of un- restrained imagination. I do know that it was my mother who was positive- ly put out when she found our assortment of Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs floating in a bucket of water. I vaguely remember her reaction. "What is this?" "I don't know." I didn't want to tell her it was stew for a ghost. "What do you mean you don't know? Do you know how much money I spent on those things? You've ru- ined them! They will never fit together again after this. And what's this?" She walked toward the litde wooden table and chairs. The table was turned over so it sat on its top so I could get inside and go boating on the open seas. The result of all the wind and waves had caused the top of the little wooden table to change from a flat sur- face to a nicely rounded surface. It was perfect for sail- ing. I didn't respond to her question. She was getting pretty hostile at that point. "Answer me! What are you doing with this table?" "I was using it for a boat." "Jesus Christ!" I know she said 'Jesus Christ' be- cause that's what she said when she was really disgusted. "Clean this mess up right now." So much for that. A table is a table is a table. And the same goes for Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. I don't think I ever played with Tinker Toys or Lincoln Logs after that. They -just weren't as much fun when used the 'right way.' I forgot how to fly long before I was ten. I can't re- member any singular event that snapped the heavy-duty Master padlock on my mental castle door. Probably a combination of things. At school, bears were brown, not purple, and people had five fingers on each hand, not three. Adults filled with lots of common sense encour- aged the litde folks like me to put two and two together and come up with four instead of "a jillion." I just woke (continued) 2 . Spring. 1991 Has Anybody Seen My Neurons? continued up one day in my twenties and realized I'd forgotten how to play. I bought my rights to adulthood and paid dearly for them with my imagination. Now I wonder if I can change my mind. Drive down to the rat- and cockroach-infested pawn shop and trade something else to get my imagination and creatvity back. I hear a few bold neurons saying "GO FOR IT!" But I don't know what to bargain with. The pawn shop owners are mean, greedy mothers. They'll want one of my children or my self-respect or the movement of my body from the neck down. Maybe the selfish bastards would settle for all my worldly belongings and my abili- ty to earn a living. Maybe someone else has already bought it and I couldn't get it back anyway. But wait! I've been musing aloud here in the land of neurons (or is it the land of neuroses? Mother, are you in here too?) The neurons are telling me it's not too late. They say, "Forget the old game. We have de- veloped a NEW game and you'll like it better." They've sent a whipping boy to deliver the bad news, however. The boy says, "Excuse me, mistress. You will like the game once you've learned it, but the rules are VERY complicated and it will take years to master them. Perhaps," he says, "more years than you have left." Shall I have the whipping boy lashed? Well, I have something to say to this whipping boy. This brave soul who comes forward to deliver the blow of bad news. Hew, Whipping Boy! Where do I start?" "Maybe you could start with a creative writing course," he answers. Hramm...put down the whip. Give that whipping boy a bath and a Fig Newton. Connie Legters THE VICTIM The details of grit and gore of death, I can supply. I have it inside where I stuff pain. Let me present the shell of a man's life washed away in a rush of madness. Wordeater 75 He never knew the joy evading his reach. False starts fell short, and consequences were avoided. When it became too much, my brother withdrew into the world of wards and patients much like himself. While he was there, he wished not to be. Coming home, loved ones encouraged, and tried hard to help place him near recovery, getting closer than he could stand. My brother withdrew again and again, until we gave up hope, and he gave up us. The desire to locate his strength of mind, somewhere, took him away from family love into cities full of hiding places. He called occasionally, and came for bare, brief visits. Yes, my brother had begun to die his death, even then. Our last visit was good. We laughed and took pictures of siblings lovingly embraced. We counted his pills...so many. Doctors help in the ways they can. Then we let him return to his live outside ours. There he died, his pills within arms' reach, and my phone number beside his bed. The anger stays that life took him from us, but recognition of futility mutes the pain. ««««»»»» Spring, 1991 Holly Bruns NO WONDER I'M NUTS! I was raised on Dr. Suess. My mother put him in my juice. She tucked me in with him at night, I woke with him at morning light. The "Cat in the Hat" was my favorite friend, We traveled together, we're friends to the end. We traveled to places like "Herk-Heimer Falls," Where "Stilt Walker" stilts were lining the walls. We met many creatures, silly and weird, The Cat in the Hat found one in his beard. We feasted on tidbits like "Green Eggs and Ham," and toast with a coating of pickle juice jam. When I was in trouble, I blamed it on Grinch, My mother said "liar" and gave me a pinch. I played in my room with "Collapsible Frink," But he collapsed once too often and started to stink, So I gave him a bath in Mom's kitchen sink and scrubbed him so hard his green became pink. "The Cat in the Hat" said the Frink was a fink, and didn't deserve a bath in the sink, and beat the Frink senseless, quick as a wink, I think the Cat's jealous. What do you think? On my birthday I went to the land of "Katroo," with the "Birthday Honk-Honker," what else could I do? The trip was a gift, a birthday donation, From the "Katroo Happy Birthday Asso-see-eye-ation." You wouldn't believe my mom's irritation, When I didn't show up for her planned celebration, To blow out the candles or eat cake decoration. But I said to my mom, with some reservation, The Suess in my juice, in my estimation, Is precisely what's causing my eggs-ad- yer-ation. If you would stop reading me such publication, I might stop this radical hallucination. My mother was filled with great trepidation, An over-reaction, in my estimation. My travels to far away places with Cat, Continued in spite of our family spat. And sleep with my friend, "The Cat in the Hat." My mother insisted on reading me Suess, and now I am nothing but a crazy rexluse, who puts Dr. Suess in her own children's juice, 'Cause I prefer him over old Mother Goose, No wonder I'm nuts, I have an excuse! Maria Mellinger AFTER YOU HAD GONE After you had gone I was afraid to sleep In the bed we had shared. The smell of our togetherness Would have been destroyed Byt the stench of my loneliness. I slept on the floor instead, My face directly upon the surfaces You once walked on — the very same boards that held you when you said goodbye, the tiles that would now have to hole me As I walk through this house alone. I was not comfortable, But then, without you, I could never be. Maria Mellinger WHEN WE HELD A FUNERAL When we held a funeral in the front yard, I shoved the neighborhood kids away, Not for fear of having to explain death And the proper techniques of grave-digging, But because I feared they'd want to Look inside the shoe-box coffin, see the Stiff little body, and ask If you'd get cold under all that dirt. I'm now a Suess junkie and there's no changing that. I'll eat the green eggs until I am fat, and speak in continuous rhyming chit-chat, Wordeater 75 Spnng, 1991 Maria Mellinger BUT YOU KNOW THAT ALREADY When one told me he loved me, I liked that, Because he means He knows me. I'm ail of everything he is. When another told me He liked me, I loved that, Because he didn't know me, But I'm part of everything he could be. Jeff DeGrave THIS IS THE AMERICAN UPGRADE This is the American upgrade of the Japanese haiku — The Double Haiku. You know, it's bigger, stronger — MADE IN AMERICA. « « « « » » » » Maria Mellinger WE'LL JUST WRITE TO EACH OTHER We'll just write to each other, Back and forth; It's almost like sex When you think about it From a wordy angle. If we were to speak. Our bodies Would get in the way. « « « « » » » » Lor a Baker MEMORIES OF YOU Memories of you hang in the corners of my mind like sugary strands of cobwebs. Sometimes I want to dust them out but I'm afraid of not having anything left of you in my life. Steev Custer WILL U EVER KNOW? I've written a million words for you, and though you read them all, you'll never know their intent. They want to scream at you in the hall, when they see you with your head down. They want to sing to you in your dreams when you sleep, blind to the fact that I'm dreaming of you. I've written a million words for you, and though you read them all, you'll never know my intent. The words in my head hope that some of your ge- nius will rub off when you shake my hand. The words in my head hope that someday you'll realize that YOU are in my poems. Dawn Simmons WISH YOU WERE HERE It was a comfortable place, that heart of yours, I was cradled in its benevolent arms and nestled into a vast and fuzzy warmth and was made to feel so secure that I never bothered to venture around to the other side to find you making snow angels in a field with someone else. « « « « » » » » Bethany Jackson NOT UNLIKE Past passion has turned to misery because I embraced the body of another Who was not unlike yourself His kisses were as hollow His heart as empty And I wept inside at his tough but I returned for more Because my mind was as superficial as yours I thought only of the moment die painful moment When our trust was broken And you lie awake sweating where I was While I lie awake sweating where I am ««««»»»» Wordeaier 75 Spnng, 1991 Jameson S. Turner STRANDED Who blesses their sneezes These stranded doorway dwellers At the mercy of angels And elements of man and nature Who'll stop and ask Say, how much do you make an hour? Where to, our refuse? When down the beggars path continue Packing unblessed sneezes Through the high streets of the world Maria Mellinger IF I MADE A CHAIN OF DAISIES If I made a chain of daisies Or a wreath of I'm sorries, Would you sing To me in smiles Once again? . Nicole L. Byrnside LET GO If it only be a woman's way, And crying is your course, Unleash your lamentation. Reveal the ripe remorse. Holding back the flood, The salty stinging wash? Let it go. Explode! Then pick up where you left off. . You miser the depression And let anger take control. It seems to me you must believe That tears are made of gold. David Tieman THE SUMMER SPOKE The summer spoke To us that year With beauty that masked A cold, forgotten stare Urging us to build sandcastles On an empty, white-sanded beath Forever Maria Mellinger YOUR LITTLE TINMAN Your little Tinman Told you he had a heart, But no tears have ever Really rusted his steel blue eyes. He took your box of leaves And the Autumn that you loved And chopped it into firewood To warm him through the winter. Judy Belfield ANOTHER YEAR IN A DAY November spread mourning on toast for breakfast; I ate everything in sight begged for more. I am quite swollen from excess; carry bags to remind me what to pack for next October's excursions into the Wild Unknown where I cannot take Mother ever again. These days, the nights take over and yawn rudely in the face of Disaster — she doesn't notice. I see it all happening much too quickly, retreat to this cage where I continue to watch undisturbed and not get involved and not get involved Wordeater 75 Spnng, 1991 SueCherven NEMESIS II A half hidden figure stands in the gloom, afraid to show his face; quietly gliding from anyone's gaze, where to I just don't know. Again we meet, for just one moment, and now the moment's gone. What do you want? Will you ever speak? Or are you just an illusion? Dawn Simmons HEADLIGHTS Armies of headlights marched in a row. For the holiday season they were all coming home. On my way to work at exactly 1:22, my headlights wished yours would be coming home to me. Maria Mellinger IT TOOK A LONG TIME It took a long time For this magic called Real To happen to me, And although the Skin Horse Promised it would always stay, Adult rules of love Stole it away. Frank Sanchez ALMOST Fragments of a time in waiting cement themselves in a cautious mind. Piece by piece the puzzle finds itself but one is missing. It is lost. ««««»»»» Wordeater 75 Carol Spinabella HEAD O' AIR She ran around With every jock she met Trying to find Her worth as a "woman" In jock straps She was sure it was there Somewhere Like a piece of lint in her bobby sock Which she couldn't quite locate. In time, her feet developed callouses She lost all sense of her womanhood It was stolen and stashed In the boys' locker room. Maria Mellinger LIKE A GHOST Like a ghost Dissolving into the air Or crawling back into the Creaking rafters She hung herself from, My smile Dissolves, My teeth liquefy, My lips are moist With the haunted house fear Of your Apparition in the room. Steev Custer WORD PROCESSOR LOVE The keys beneath my fingers spark an emotion in me that cannot be induced by pen, nor pencil. The violent whirr of the letters branding themselves to this innocent page intoxicates me with the passion for anar- chistic manipulation of my thoughts and ideas. The keys beneath my fingers scream with hatred for their enemy, the page, and pound their fists into its stomach making me the captain on the pirate ship of words. My crew and I, armed with adjectives, adverbs and other parts of speech, sail, on our word processor gallion, over spirit master seas to rape, burglarize, and destroy towns and villages of grammatical conformity. 1 Spnng. 1991 Terry Rogers ANY WEEKDAY NIGHT On top of the stool Billy sits Another and another — He never quits Of overtime And things gone wrong Are usually the lines Of Billy's song He points at me and asks "Don't you agree?" I have to smile and say, "Of course I see." And when it gets late And I have to close I wonder about What Billy knows — if I'm not busy Tina M. Plunk THE GIFT OF WINGS My wings were clipped I was tied to someone else's ways, I couldn't soar to my own heights, Though I wanted to... ...someday. I'd look out into the distance a starry look of ambition in my eyes, Only made him add to my chains Pulling me further down with his ties. I freed myself when he let his guard down But I couldn't reach the sky, What I needed was your gift of wings and it was then I learned to fly. ««««»»»» Maria Mellinger YOU HAVE WRAPPED YOURSELF You have wrapped yourself In a cloak of shyness With a collar of fear. But the soft skin of your neck Is blushing and whispering, "Kiss me." « « « « » » » » Donica Rampa KISS? Feather light, a flicker really — Not meant for what it was taken as — and returned with something more. Hungry and Dangerous. That if left free — unchained — Unbridled, then might. Just might become Heartbreak. Maria Mellinger THE UGLY GIRLS AT THE PARTY The ugly girls at the party Don't always turn into swans. The barefoot boys in the country Can't always avoid the thorns. The quiet pains of being an adult, Putting aside the storybooks and Pressing your face to the glass window Of what life is really all about. Won't disappear when you Fall asleep each night. Martin Nieznanski AZATHOTH When I admire the celestial sphere I often wonder What unremembered diety Is gazing at me with Infinite eyes. <«««»»»» Wordeater 75 Spring. 1991 Bethany Jackson HEAVEN SENT Falling to the earth in a cloud of moondust His eyes drip like candlewax into my soul Teasing me with a tongue of ice Cold taste sends shivers down my head Melting away into a liquid dream Misty night with air so chill His hands take away all my will Numbs my senses and dims my perception Wet heat grasps my waist and spine. A noble figure to kiss Mars His was a gift sent from the stars Hovering over me like a thick honey My breath takes in his sweet essence And his image so diving Spinning on the edge of a blade Waiting for me to surrender And bond his sky with mine Eric Jensen ANOTHER PROVERB Some people see life through the lens of a camera with no film. Dawn Mooney TURNING UP THE VOLUME Turning up the volume Doesn't change our problems Filling our ears With drumbeats and guitars solos Just gives me a bigger headache. Lisa Bucciarelli ON LIFE If you try too hard to be DEEP you find yourself enveloped in shallowness Maria Mellinger COLD AIR Cold air. Oil from the bridge of your nose, Unanswered questions Ninety-nine emotions Tickle me with Your lips. Later I'll feel guilty. Now I'm too busy Enjoying it all. Judy Belfield EMBROIDERIES Often we are fooled by words and gestures promising we will never be alone. These are not so much lies as wishes. In California I learned that blue is not the same everywhere and death as illusion is a trick on us all. People mean well, I guess, the realists and the yarn-spinners; but I cannot tell the difference any more... Jeff DeGrave A PARADOXICAL GOODBYE I long for you To shorten your stay... ««««»»»» Wardealer 75 Spring, 1991 Maria Mellinger IT'S ALWAYS SO EARLY It's always so early When I'm told to do The important things — To get out of bed. To get into my car, To go somewhere and Do something and Be some alert and Meaningful person. I prefer the night, When I can roam Like a soul in a cemetery, Studying the graves of my neighbors, Dancing on an unclaimed Portion of land, Dreaming of life And what it must be like To live. Chris Derrick MEMORIES OF GREEN Now the season's winter The leaves are gone away Leaving me to ponder Memories of green Next spring I know They will return In spit of acid rain Will the men in future time Still say the same Or will our legacy be these Memories of green ««««»»»» Maria Mellinger INDEPENDENCE I want to walk on a Sidewalk that your feet Have never touched. I need to conquer concrete. ««««»»»» Jeff Hicks QUESTIONS OF NIGHT I look through the jet black surroundings of night wondering what will happen by daybreak Will the flowers open once again? Will the shadows disappear? Will the vampires and the werewolf return to their hidden solitude? And can the sun rise before I notice it? Am I going to catch a falling star? and make a wish? What shall I wish for? Maybe I'll look for a new friend I'll possibly meet someone who could change my life Maybe help me wonder help me dream While we both look through the jet clack surroundings of night Holly Bruns VERBAL METAMORPHOSIS The words that left my mouth are not The words that entered my head. The things you thought you heard me say, Are not the things I said. I don't know how the sounds I utter, once nebulized to air, Transform themselves with brand new meaning, That really were not there. We speak a common language, The words are very clear, Yet still you don't hear what I've said, They different words you hear. I want to tell you how I feel, Or what is on my mind, But the verbal metamorphosis Has made me feel confined. I'll maintain reluctant silence, Not discuss what causes pain, Your preference is avoidance, Conversation is a strain. Wordcater 75 10 Spring.! 9«'. Maria Mellinger DEVILS ARE WINDS Devils arc winds Blowing change into every comer Of my comfortable dusty room. Demons are sunsets Leaking their orange and purple cloud blood Onto the clean white sheets of my bed. Vampires are the seasons Draining me of each emotion in turn, My sores forever open and unhealed, My mind forever in memory Of the day when autumn passed. Shane Van Veghel THE TREE SEEMED TO GLOW The tree seemed to glow in its own light, lighting the entire family room. In front of the tree, on the floor, cuddled two people sipping champagne. The tree had what seemed to be a hundred ornaments, each home-made with loving hands. Anna had sat down the second year of their marriage and made every one of the ornaments. Christian had helped some, but he soon found that he didn't have the patient hands that Anna had. Anna remembered the Christmas before that one, when they barely had money enough for presents. She had been depressed because they couldn't afford to decorate the tree they had bought, even though Christian said they could. She sat in the small apartment while he ran out to get something. When he returned, he was carrying two brown paper bags. From the two bags, Christian produced ten bags of bows. Anna had looked at them as though he was crazy. He took the two bags over to the Christmas tree which was decorated only with white lights that Christian had had forever. He reached into one of the brown bags and pulled out a bag of bows. He opened up the bag and beckoned Anna over to him. He placed a red bow in her hand and took a green one for himself. He dropped the bag and then peeled off the paper on the sticker part of the bow. "Well, come on," he said to Anna, and then stuck the bow on a tree branch. Anna smiled. It only took an hour to finish the tree and it had actually looked really good. Anna had been cheered up. Wordeaier 75 Christian yawned and stretched. He looked up ai Anna's tree. He smiled and held her close. As much as she liked their first tree, he knew this one was her favorite. She had her ornaments, and therefore, her security. ««««»»»» Jeffrey Michael B LONGING IN YOUR HOLLOW You lost you Into your own design To fall too far Is to break through the line For all the concern, This terrible journey, Who can you touch With breath, light, and love? And here I sit Amidst wood and decay The others too far — Myself in the dark — Search for the rays of the sun. Enter the Beast Of bile and stench And battle to breathe the thickened air Wrapped warm in his belly Under scales and fear But, alas, I am not you. I can only speak of my own Knowledge and thoughts. I look to the moon And hear your song; Hear you sing And then sigh And then sob Your children continue to be your beacon: Carry you on Into shaking heads of disbelief — Wonder — Joy — I will carry you with me To my own grave In you I must find The healthiest of hungers And will always hold closely The memory of your song Spnng,i991 Maria Mellinger YOU ONCE ASKED ME You once asked me Why the nights are so long And beautiful; Why daytime is so destructive. I answered That midnight is when The majority sleep And only our fortunate eyes Fall upon Each other. Maria Mellinger EARTH DAY, 1990 CENTRAL PARK, NYC After middle-class America had shouted her support for our dying planet, she drove home in a thousand different cars, left behind her pamphlets and pop cans, and made it home in time to watch the events' coverage on MTV. Tomorrow morning, she would open her checkbook and save the world. Meanwhile, the bag ladies and bums that belong to the park crept out like a child's shadow does close to suppertime. They gathered the forgotten newspapers and the larger sheets of paper for blankets. The smaller pieces fit well in the holes in their shoes or as a crumpled pillow. The empty aluminum cans were collected like fine china to be traded tomorrow morning for a few cents or a free cup of coffee at the recycling center. These are the people of Earth, brothers. We are pollution to them, and they clean up after us as well. Steev Custer FLUORESCENT HEAVENS My Father, being a small and timid man, I was never taught much self-defense. My Mother, being a peaceful woman, I was never taught how to exert my anger and stress. Not that I'm blaming this whole predicament on them, of course, but these are important factors in my life. I enrolled at JJC with the hopes of furthering my education and escaping the blatant immaturity of those in high school who couldn't accept me for who I was. Wordeater 75 For me to say that maturity was scarce at JuCo would be astoundingly incorrect, yet I found its scarcity most abundant in certain areas of the Bridge, namely the middle. It seemed the people who ridiculed me in high school gathered there, for what purpose I really have no clue. At first, the situation wasn't so bad, an occasional comment or two I could handle. Eventually it progressed to the point where I dreaded going from one side of the campus to another, because the only route in which to travel entailed the use of the Bridge. My enemies sat like mighty eagles, watching and waiting for their prey to wander innocently into the open, where they would swoop down with the utmost grace and tear the unknowing creature apart with their razor sharp claws. Today, however, I would not be unprepared. The duffel bag that my brother-in-law had given me upon his dismissal from the Marine Corps, sat on my floor already packed with books and supplies I would need for the next day's classes. Without stopping to think what, exactly, I was going to do with it, I picked up the baseball bat I lovingly referred to as Livewire, and shoved it into my bag. My nine o'clock class zoomed by, as it usually does, and the time came for me to cross the Bridge on my way to Speech. I came upon the TV lounge, where several of my friends had decided to take a nap instead of going to class, and tried to prepare myself for what was yet to come. I wasn't sure, exactly, what would happen; in fact, there was a slight possibility that nothing would be said, and I would continue on about my business. On the other hand, the residents of the Bridge could also assault me with any one of a million comments ranging from my attire to my mother. As I came upon the Memorial for American Soldiers, I could feel the adrenalin start to flow, even though I had no idea what, exactly, was yet to come. I stopped direcdy behind the Memorial and reacquainted myself with the position of the bat. I stepped out from the protection of the Marble Memorial, into the dragons' lair. I held my head high, for none of these people needed to see me trying to hide from their sight. Suddenly, I felt I wanted someone to say something. I wanted them to try to defy my existence, degrade my parents or my name. The comment came, as I had expected, and I immediately forgot it in the rage that filled my head. I stopped in my tracks, and a dozen or so, clad in some nauseating shade of fluorescent, rose to their feet, standing tall and proud to be finally getting what they asked for. What they would actually get, however, was not what they asked for. As I stepped through the opening in between the (continued) 12 Spnng.1991 Fluorescent Heavens, continued Holly Bruns couches, several more wise-ass comments came, but I took no heed. The boys had gathered into a small semi- circle, and waited for my retort to their feeble-minded attacks on my life. I laughed to myself, thinking how ridiculous it was that they believed there was strength in numbers when I had a Tennessee Thumper on my side. None of them even saw the bat as it came off of my duffel, in fact, no one even saw it until it met its first target and he was lying on the floor, screaming in agony. A small crowd had gathered now, and some people were screaming, some in terror, and some in victory. Seven or eight of the semi-circle members turned and ran, most likely thanking God they had worn their running shoes. Before anyone else had a chance to move, I swung the bat again, only this time striking not only its intended victim, but a second behind me. I had no time to stop and tally the injuries I had inflicted, for there was one more scumbag standing. He snarled a long line of obscenities at me, so I have Livewire a final swing, striking him square in the stomach and throwing him to the floor. There was a very large crowd gathered by this time, and most of them looked at me as if I were crazy. But I paid no attention. I finally felt free, as if someone had at last uncuffed me. When in all actuality, campus security was cuffing me and leading me down the corridor. I wondered if anyone would really understand why I did this. I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to do it again. Maria Meilinger A SIMPLE TALE Centuries ago The blue eyed boy stood guard In a tall tower of Krakow. He sighted the invading Turks And raised his trumpet to his lips, But the signal was silenced When an arrow struck his throat Today, as it happened in days past And as it will happen tomorrow, A guard will open the window Of a church tower in Krakow And blow into his trumpet, Stopping suddenly As if his throat, too, Had been struck. Wordeater 75 STARVATION Sigmund Freud was familiar to me even at the age of six or seven. Dad would say, "Freud this," and "Freud that," and "Skinner this," and "Pavlov that." I thought my Dad was a handsome genius. I used to love sneaking up the stairs after I'd been tucked in, to I could catch snippets of conversation between my parents. Daddy always had something brilliant to say. One night, when I was in the fourth grade, I heard Daddy say, "Jan, I don't understand what your problem is. You're my wife. I think you're beautiful. Why should you be embarrassed?" "Dave, I just don : feel right about this," Mom answered. "Fine, Jan. You asked me to tell you what I want and need. I told you. What the hell good did it do?" Mom started crying. Mom cried a lot. In fact, Mom cried so often that we had all become desensitized to her tears. I waited on the stairs, wondering what would be revealed about Mom's problem. "Dave, what do you want from me?" she sniffled. She blew her nose. There was silence. I knew my Dad. Silence meant he was thinking. Silence meant he was angry. I wondered which silence he was maintaining at that moment. I wished I could see his face. Mom hated Dad's silence more than anything. When his silences continued for days, I had often found Mom hiding in the kitchen or the bathroom crying. When I would ask why she was crying, she frequently said, "Daddy's not talking to me." I never understood why Mom cried about that. Sometimes I would be reminded of a phrase I'd often heard from her and Dad: "Do you want something to really cry about? Silence didn't seem like a good reason to cry. I thought my Mom was a very weak woman. "Dave, if you really want this, I'll give it a try. When do you want to do it?" "Aren't the girls going to Girl Scout Camp next week?" "Yes. They're leaving Saturday morning." "Then we can drop them at the bus and leave from there." The conversation ended abrupdy. I heard Mom pick up glasses and go into the kitchen. My Dad went into the bathroom. I sat on the shadowy stairs hoping they (continued) 13 Spnng.1991 Starvation, continued weren't going somewhere to get a quick divorce like the people on TV. I let my imagination run wild with the possibilities of what would happen if they got divorced. I was suddenly forced to cancel my eavesdropping and daydreaming when a sneaky spider on an invisible thread landed on the stair in front of me. I went to bed knowing that they were talking about getting divorced. I hadn't made any sense of their conversation. I only knew that they had disagreed about something important and I assumed it was about their marriage. I was able to forget my worries at summer camp. I developed a painful crush on one of my counselors named Tulip." All the camp counselors were named after flowers. Tulip was a fair-skinned, blue-eyed girl in her late teens. She had hair the color of walnut shells. The skin on her face was almost transparent and dotted with walnut-colored freckles. I stared at her whenever she was around, and blushed when she spoke to me. I wanted to touch her. I wanted to see her with her clothes off. It didn't occur to me once that what I was feeling was unusual. I didn't stop to assess the direction of my thinking. I was nine. I was in love. Daddy had always said, "There's nothing wrong with nudity. Naked bodies are beautiful." My sisters and I believed him. We were naked every chance we got. The naked bodies of my Mom and Dad were a sight we had grown used to. I had been told the details of sexual intercourse when I was in kindergarten. I had been told about homosexuality. I knew that it was perfectly normal and acceptable for people to touch themselves in certain ways. I knew there was no Santa Claus, no Tooth Fairy, and no Easter Bunny. There was no such thing as a "dirty word." My Dad said so. Dirty words were only dirty because of the meanings people attached to them. Daddy was an atheist. We didn't believe in God. We laughed at people who did. Freud was God. Skinner was God. Pavlov was God. Daddy was God. Tulip was God. Tulip taught me how to cook bacon and eggs in a paper bag over a campfire. They tasted great. She showed us how to make homemade ice-cream with crushed peppermint. She cooked a perfect golden marshmallow and gave it to me for my graham cracker and chocolate. Whenever I saw Tulip, I felt very hungry. Summer camp ended and Tulip and I parted ways. She never knew I loved her and my fantasies ended before the three-hour bus ride home. The memory of an earlier conversation slipped into my brain somewhere between Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, and I wondered who I'd be living with when I got home. Wordeaicr 75 Mom greeted my sisters and me with a smile and a hug. Her wedding band was still intact and she was cheerful as we drove home. My sisters and I sang our camp songs and related our camp tales. She told us that she and Dad had gone away to the mountains for a few days while we were gone, and said they'd had a good time. Daddy was home when we got there, and my anxieties were alleviated. Daddy taught me something important when I was in the fourth grade. I had to do a project for the science fair and he volunteered to help. He took me to the University and let me pick out my own white rat. I was excited to have a rat of my own. I gave him an unusual name, like "Mouse," or "Tiger," or "Dog," and grew attached to him immediately. Dad and I built a maze tor the rat and my learning experience was underway. "Don't handle the rat too much," Dad instructed right away. "He'll get spoiled and confused. And remember, don't feed him unless he does what you want him to do. If he starts out slow, reward him after making one correct turn. After a day or two, reward him after making two correct turns. Eventually, he will learn to travel this maze in exactly the way you want him to. I felt sorry for my rat. I thought he needed to be held. I didn't think it was kind to make him go hungry. But Daddy was a smart man. I trusted his judgment. The rat learned his lesson well. I was proud of what I would have to show at the science fair. A week before the project was due, however, the rat escaped his confines and was lost. We never found him. Mom said the cat probably ate him. Dad got me a new rat, but the new rat didn't have time to learn the maze. My science project was presented "in theory" as Dad advised. I explained how the theory was put into effect. The science fair judge asked me what I'd learned from my project I recited some story about rewarding correct behavior. I didn't quite understand the theory of starvation, so I left that part out. Toward the end of summer, a month or so after returning home from camp, I found my mother in the kitchen crying. "What are you crying about. Mom?" I asked. "Oh, nothing honey." "How come you're crying about nothing?" She didn't respond. I couldn't walk away from her. Something made me want to badger her into telling me why she was crying again. "Is Daddy mad at you?" I asked. "Never mind about that. Just set the table." "Mom, you're always crying. Why are you always crying? Aren't you happy? Did someone do something to hurt your feelings? Do you wish you didn't have children sometimes?" 14 Spnng,199l "No. It's not you girls. Your Dad and I are having some problems, that's all." That's all? I wondered of they were having problems because my Dad was sick of seeing my mother cry. "What kind of problems, Mom?" "Well, a lot of it has to do with our sex life. It's stuff that you're too young to understand." "I'm not too young. You've already told me about sex. Why wouldn't I understand?" Mother stopped crying for a minute and smiled at me. "You think so?" she asked. Dad came into the kitchen than and saw my mother had been crying. The smile was gone. She turned her reddened, puffy face and runny nose toward my Dad. He looked at her briefly, poured a glass of iced tea, and went back into his study. Silence was like heavy smoke in the kitchen. I thought it would probably suffocate my mother and me if we didn't open a window, draw a breath of fresh air, and let in some noise. "Mom, why do you let him treat you that way?" "You don't know what you're talking about. You're too young to understand." "How do you know?" I badgered. "Okay, okay, you want to know? You think you'll understand? Okay. I'll tell you. Do you remember when you went to camp and your Dad and I went to the mountains? Well, while we were gone, your father paid a man to come to our hotel and have sex with me, so he could watch, and NOW, NOW, he won't talk to me because he wants me to do something else like that and I don't want to. Some things aren't right!" I got the plates and glasses and silverware. I put them on the table just the way I had been taught. The spoon and the knife on the right with the knife blade toward the plate so it wouldn't cut someone. I folded the napkins "just so." My mother was silent. She wasn't crying now. I remember the scene so vividly, yet I can't remember what we at for dinner that night. I couldn't figure out which part was wrong and which part was right. Maybe Mom had mixed it up. Or maybe it was wrong for people to touch themselves in certain ways. Maybe there was a Santa Claus after all. Maybe there was a God. Sometime during the next year, my Dad brought home a little spider monkey from the University. We named him "Jo-Jo" and put diapers on him. He slept in a tiny baby bed that belonged to one of my dollies, and Mom put a board on the top so he wouldn't get out when he wasn't supposed to. Jo-Jo wasn't meant to be a family pet, in spite of what my sisters and I wanted. Daddy brought him home so he could train the monkey Wordeiter 75 to use the toilet. He insisted he could make this monkey learn. My mother nearly went crazy trying to keep up with Jo-Jo. She would be responsible for carrying out the necessary procedures when Dad was at work or at the University. I remember that the monkey pooped everywhere but the toilet and my mother became very frustrated and grouchy at times. Still, Dad insisted that the monkey would learn. One day, we took the monkey with us to visit some friends who lived on a farm. Somehow, the monkey got up on the roof and fell. He struck his head on a rock and was killed. I didn't see this incident. My sisters and I were just told that Jo-Jo was dead and how it had happened. I thought immediately that Jo-Jo had jumped on purpose. I had a feeling that monkeys could commit suicide if they wanted to. Eventually, Mom and Dad did divorce. Dad left Mom without giving any notice. She came home from work one day and he was gone. He packed his jogging suit and Nikes, and took off in the Volkswagen. He left her everything, including the mortgage payment. She cried for days and weeks. She said she couldn't stand the silence. She told me, after Dad was gone, that the monkey hadn't jumped. Dad had killed the monkey himself because he couldn't stand to take it back to the University and admit his failure. Silendy, I wondered if he hadn't also killed my rat. Perhaps he couldn't stand to see my success. He called her several months later and said he would be in town around Thanksgiving and wanted to come by and pick up some things he left behind. Mom was nervous and excited. She planned a big Thanksgiving dinner and insisted we all be present. I told my Mom I couldn't make it. I knew I wouldn't be hungry. She didn't say much. She was crying when I hung up the receiver. ««««»»»» Lora Baker LATELY MY LIFE Lately my life is like a snow globe, just as the snow settles someone comes along and shakes it up again. ««««»»»» 15 Spnng.1991 David Tieman THE FOURTH OF JULY THAT MOVED TO CALIFORNIA We met Under the dazzling show of light And each time A beautiful image Would burst into the night sky, I could catch a moment Of the beauty that sat beside me In awe, Gazing at the fireballs That seemed to fall all around us Like falling stars So, I made many wishes that night All of which came true But the grand finale With brilliant colors That soon faded Left me alone Searching for another heart to cling to. Jameson Turner BLEEDING SOCIETY I am the brother of this world Pour your cup of discontent upon my head I am not God But I am in His image with two arms To offer help Rest your being in the shade of me I am a tree Everything to everyone I long to be But this foul flesh limits me to stay In but one place, one time, one mind But curse it? I dare not For in it find A shelter, haven, rest And life to seize and drink and dine Jeff Hicks NONSENSE The days are getting better now The winds are starting to shift Maybe I'll become a cloud And drift and drift and drift. Judy Belfield LOSS OF FAITH We wear gray today and drag our feet across the tiled piazza. Our slow procession moves without sound toward the fat stone church. We do not look up or to our sides; our thoughts are to be directed by Goodness; we must meditate on holy things as a group. There is power in our prayer humility in our loss of self. I am distracted now and then — a devil uniquely mine breathes a cold sigh on my neck sings a promise softly in my ear. I listen then carry my sin past thick wooden doors into God's house where the priest reminds me that there are secrets here. "Dominus vobiscum," he chants. I think, for a second, there might be hope. But even then I knew. Dawn Simmons PERHAPS Perhaps that throughout the entire time it happened no one ever saw what was happening and it didn't make a difference 'cause we weren't the only friends to ever fall in love and pretend it never happened. Wordeater 75 16 Spnng.1991 Sailor LET THEM DREAM Let the children dream For one day the dreams shall fade Let their imaginations flow today Tomorrow logic shall rule Let them create their own little worlds To play in and enjoy Soon this world shall claim them And the dreams shall become memories We hold on to our dreams By encouraging the children to dream We can go on, knowing they are happy So please, let them dream « « « « » » » » Jeffrey Michael B UNTITLED the sky turned around to you it pulled me over the dry, long pool i saw shooting stars on a cloudy night i held you here when you weren't in sight i kissed your thought in the darker light and looked for you above « « « « » » » » Maria Mellinger VISITATION RIGHTS I went to see the guru Standing on the mountain top With his eyes upon the skies And in his hand a soda pop. I asked him "Do you know If what I've done is right?" And he answered, • "Ask me later, It's been a rather long night." I went to see the doctor With his maps of body parts, Thinking he would know the antidotes To pains involving hearts. I asked him "Do you know If what I've done is right?" And he poked me With a stethoscope And blinded me with a light. I went to see the teacher Who had visited Walden Pond And had studied sorcery And possessed a magic want. I asked him "Do you know If what I've done is right?" And he answered "I've lost my vision And I have no second sight." I went to see Fr. McKenzie With his rosary and beads. With his words and his deeds. I asked him "Do you know If what I've done is right?" And he answered "The Devil's within you, child, He's the cause of your plight." Then I sat down beside myself And turned to me and said, 'There's too much confusion here Deep inside my head." And I asked me "Do you know If what I've done is right?" And I answered "Honey, you worry too much. We'll get through this life." Frank Sanchez EYELENS Sharp green lines attack the day Sharper than any other color except maybe blue. Vision trained to the colors, shapes and expressions. The constant flow of people through streets, mindless Of each other, scratching or floating, but most Just walking, through another day. The fields afar, yet so near, yellow-dappled green Or multi-shaded brown reaching out, and the scents Of the open playing upon memories. People through streets. Green and brown. Oblivion within a teeming existence. Wardeater 75 17 Spnng.1991 Maria Mellinger YOU CAPTURE MY ATTENTION You capture my attention Like a jar full of change — You make a pretty sound When I shake you up, But you're just not worth That damn much. Connie Legters MURMURS I love to hear wind come round the corner of my house, finding old wood, creaking gently, soothing softly. It murmurs as the frame braces for the next blast to come. Night will happen while I sleep ■ lightly, so not to miss a single word my house has to say. Maria Mellinger MY CITY IS STILL Donica Rampa LISTEN UP Take heed ye crows, cows and crustaceans- for the time is at hand When Words Without Meaning, Action Without Thought, and Existence in Pathetic Isolation will ruin you — make Nothing of you — Like the Nothing you have made. This fate be your? Then you are beyond pity, And so be it. My city is still Dark when yours Begins to rise, But it is midnight To us both — The mourning hour. Terry Rogers JE JOVE LES TAMBOURS POUR 'VOUS' When I sit alone I think, Of how to relax Of what we all enjoy That's when I feel a pulse More than rhythm, There's melody too And mood plays bass I hope that when you listen you'll be impressed I hope that when you listen you'll be on your own Most of all — I hope that you'll listen Eric Jensen FROSTBITE You live inside your ice walls Built with bricks of humor And transparent apathy Do you buy yourself With laughter Or has it eaten Your soul away completely Shed a tear to save yourself Before it's too late ««««»»»» Wordeater 75 18 Spring, 1991 Jeff DeGrave I MUST APOLOGIZE I must apologize For I am not a writer Nor a poet I am Merely a curator of words — Words from which you Have inferred A meaning... Dawn Mooney WITH YOU With you I am safe from the world Like some little girl Protected from the monsters in her closet I am loved and cared for And I can love and care Without fear of rejection I know it's not always easy But I'm willing to work on forever With you Maria Mellinger THE OLD INVENTOR The old inventor, Leaning heavily on His ivory cane, Spoke of parts and hearts Machines and making love, Inventions and intentions. And pulling on his Mad scientist mustache He pointed a finger at me And whispered, "You Are your own creation. Invent your own ending." Nicole L. Byrnside AGAINST TIME I smashed the clock Against the wall; Tried to stop the deadly ticking. I cringed humiliation As I saw my own reflection In the shards of the clock's glass casing. Though the clock was in pieces, Sail I heard the ticking. Then a knocking sounded clear beneath my skull. With the knocking came a voice; Persistent, shouting, Cold, demanding. "What the Hell are you looking for today?" What good is life If you spend a lifetime looking For a corner of a crevice you'll find it." Living to be nothing or Never really knowing, As wicked time slowly sifts away. Amidst unhampered ticking, Of one matter I was certain, No strange voice could share The knowledge of my shame. The only poisoned power That could crush My fear of dying Is unleashing an undying fear of living. Lisa Bucciarelli A LIE IS LIKE A lie is like a spool of thread that begins to unravel as the lie is said. . Wordeacer 75 19 Spnng, 199i Bethany Jackson THE HIDDEN WITHIN Disguised in the face of my lover Whose rough passion does send away regret Two fangs of whitest ivory hover Secure under twilight's silk violet He proudly wraps his arms around the dead And pressing his cool lips to my soft neck He asks my virgin self to share his dread For I cannot put evil's plan to wreck My heart does drift in Hell's romantic fire Where new death drips into frozen veins Entrapping souls like rats along the mire I am but one who found love brings more pains In death the key to life is written lust Do never give to loin the blood of trust Chris Derrick HORRORSHOW Life is Horasha* Filled with delight Life is Horrorshow One constant fight Reforms in the east block Destroyed by Black Berets Our troops near Iraq Will surely fight in days Rain forests in Brazil Burn on through the night Loggers try to kill The last spotted owl in flight Industries pollute the Earth With chemicals hard to name Gangs patrol their city turf Searching rivals to maim Drugs corrupt the land The police cannot help Problems permeate the world Our leaders do not help Life is horasha Filled with delight * Russian for "good" Martin Nieznanski MANDELLA Four arms of cloudy plumage reach For the puddles of dust beneath My feet, while the satin of a Rabbit's hide covers that glowing Part known only to myself as The breath of some forgotten god « « « « » » » » Maria Mellinger HOW, EXACTLY How, exactly, Does poetry "flow"? My words are not An Olympic-sized pool For you to swim in. They are small and unathletic. My words are not A river, For I'm much more Interested in mud, And the feel of it Between my toes. My words are not An ocean Because my language Is limited And comfortable, actually. My words are Sharp little stones That stick in your side And so You want them to "flow" Far away from you. But this is my poetry. Dawn Simmons TO JAY I'm sorry that I hurt you, but I guess being called a kid at heart from a person who hates kids made me want to all the more. Wordeaier 75 20 Spring, 1991 Lora Baker HEAVY METAL MUSIC (light show with lots of fog being released) i loud car-splitting scream; I killed your mother and I raped your dog (another scream) (intense musical interlude, dude!) (another scream followed by drum solo) [applause followed by groupies throwing panties at lead singer and a shower of guitar pieces as guitar is being shattered by singer on stage] Steev Custer HAND WRITTEN POEM 2 We shared our first endeavor last evening with the midnight sun as our only witness, and now I'm not sure if I'm supposed to hold your hand and stay forever or fade away like a childhood memory lost in responsibility. Lisa Bucciarelli I ONCE KNEW A BOY I once knew a boy a beautiful young man Much like this kite I'm holding here today. We used to soar above the clouds I'd watch us in the sky. But then he pulled away from me And I knew no reason why. Sometimes we flew lowly. Others, we soared high. But, I never never knew how low we'd go Until he said goodbye. « « « « » » » » Maria Mellinger WINONA, MINNESOTA We were driving Twenty towns per hour, A piece of my personality Neady deposited at each exit. You were asleep. The road was asleep. Even our Chihuahua was Dreaming somewhere beneath The brake pedal. I was awake Trying to read the road signs, Forgetting how to fold the map, Forgetting myself. Maria Mellinger YOUR EYES Your eyes, Across from mine At a party Where the people move Like factory workers At an assembly line, Rip through the Paper thin silence Of my night And invite Me to dance. Wordeaier 75 ««««»»»» Frank Sanchez CALL OF WINTER Alone the land, the frozen ground, The lifeless stretch without a sound. From East to West, the drifts that rise. Lie barren beneath the frozen sky. Sunlight shines with feeble strength Upon the crystal dusted lengths. The sea of white into the distance fades As the shadows of night slowly invade. Oh! Daylight eye! Seize the frozen sky! 21 Spring. 1991 Jeff Hicks Judv Belfield SILENT WAGON PARALYSIS I sat in my silent wagon Waiting for someone to give a push But what was that I heard? A jet? Yes, it was a fighter jet. 1 pushed the throttie forward The sound of turbines whined behind me I roared off into the sky, my white scarf in the wind I ncared the enemy plane I dipped I dived I climbed my guns a blazing And as the final jet ran away I landed my jet and sat in my silent wagon Waiting for someone to give me a push ««««»»»» Tina M. Plunk HE PLAYED SUMMER And he played summer with me. From after breakfast to way into the sunset We shared our lives together, on the swings in the clubhouse in the fields. Living, learning, growing, in a summer silence. Til, My life depends on plans I've placed together as carefully as puzzle pieces yet I have no control. I cannot even control me. Everything is out of hand gone haywire snipped free of order and I in the center of chaos cannot make sense of anything including myself. I write me into words that seem to offer limits seem to define rule and reason yet fail. I write me into plans that follow one another and fill time in every tiny corner until everything else is squeezed out as surely as a last breath. Still I cannot control results unless I do something profoundly irreversible. reality got down and put us in our spot ««««»»»» Steev Custer But for awhile He played summer with me. Eric Jensen COMPANIONS Living in fear is like living in a net. We can see all around us but are not free. Love is like a pair of scissors. Wordeater 75 CRACKED "Joseph, you promised. You lied to me," she screamed. He seemed to be ignoring her, so Barbara screamed even louder. "You promised we would be together for the rest of our lives, and now you're going to walk out and forget me?" "Yes," he replied quite calmly, "and the sooner the better." Joseph grabbed his car keys off the table and turned toward the door. She grabbed him and whirled his body to face her. She was crying now, but that had no effect on Joseph. "I'm in no mood for your childish (continued) 22 Spring, 199! Cracked, continued Maria Mellinger sniveling." He was started to lose his temper. Joseph turned once again and headed for the door. This time, he turned in reaction to the sound of Barbara's body hitting the floor. He walked closer to her, she was sobbing. "She's actually going to beg," he thought. Barbara slowly raised her head to look at him. Joseph stared into her eyes; she looked so helpless lying there on the floor like a child, lost from her parents, scared and alone. He kneeled down beside her and took her into his arms. She kissed him, and he wondered why he would ever want to leave her. Joseph and Barbara made love to each other on the living room floor just six feet from the front door where, less than forty-five minutes before, Joseph had been determined to leave and never return. Now, as he lay on the floor, he felt remorseful. He decided to tell Barbara how sorry he was and how much he loved her, but she was not there. "Barbara?" he called. There was no reply. After he second call, he felt a wave of nausea and panic sweep over him. He tried to relax, but felt in his heart that something was not right. Suddenly, Barbara was above him, knife in hand. She was screaming something, but Joseph was too stunned to make out what it was. He felt the blade pierce his chest; his vision started to blur. He knew he had to try to make it to the phone, but he only managed to crawl two feet before he lost all strength and blacked out. He was in a tunnel now, but no matter how hard he ran, he couldn't seem to reach the end. Joseph heard himself ask if he was going to Heaven or Hell, but there was no voice to tell him where he was. He started to worry that he would spend eternity in purgatory. Joseph slowly opened his eyes. He was lying on the living room floor, next to Barbara, who was shaking vigorously. He dressed himself, thinking it must have been one hell of a bang for him not to even remember it. Joseph went into the kitchen and retrieved the last beer from the fridge. On his way back to the living room, Joseph noticed that there were message on the answering machine. He pressed the play button and the machine whirred and clicked itself awake, spitting out the voice of his mother, inviting him and his new wife to dinner. The second and last message was from his best friend, Gary: "Yo, Joey, how was the trip, man? Hey, you know where to get some more when you're intereste..." ««««»»»» Wordeater 75 STURE, BIRGITTA, AND NICK RHODES— A BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE Birgitta is seventeen years old. She had cool hair, usually black, but sometimes her blonde roots show. She used to be a cheerleader, B.D.D. (Before Duran Duran), and wore ponytails and miniskirts and makeup. Today, she wears either her high school uniform or her Burger King uniform with "Nick" on the name tag (she told her manager that Birgitta ia a Communist name meaning "Karl Marx is groovy.) She owns one other article of chothing — a blue satin tour jacket with "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" embroidered in thirteen different colors on the back. Birgitta's father works at the fragrance counter at Marshall Fields and her mother writes scirpts for cat food commercials. Sture is nineteen but hasn't enlisted for the draft yet. At this point in time, he has red hair, but the five O'clock shadow hovering on his chin is a light brown. His real name is Stanley, but he changed it when he started his job selling occult books door to door. Sture rhymes with "door." He puts applications in at every local record store once a month, but no one has ever called. His parents own a yogurt store, like some twisted real life scenario from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, although he's never seen the movie. His favorite movie is Patty Hearst. Nick Rhodes is the keyboardist for Duran Duran. Sture loves Birgitta. Birgitta loves Nick. Nick loves strawberries and jellybeans. (Ooops. The Beatles loved jellybeans. Sorry. You may stop pelting Simon LeBon with them now.) Birgitta and Sture met at the candle shop in the mall. Both were buying incense, which just proves how good their karma was from the beginning. She did not have enough money for her Gonesh Incense; he pressed a quarter into her hand with all the sensuality of a skinny English pop star performing a synthesizer solo. It was love. Neither said a word as they walked to Musicland. She rarely spoke, which is why she was a grill girl at BK, and his conversations were , for the most part, held with slamming doors. Once in the store, Sture began browsing the blues section, but one glance from Birgitta forced him to forget all music except New Romantic. That very night Sture began to study Duran Duran. Birgitta loaned him her novels, albums, and back issues of Bop, which used the word "hunk" approximately 213 times per issue. As will be revealed here for the first time anywhere, he actually hated the fave five. He hated (continued) 23 Spnng. 1991 Sture, Birgitta, and Nick Rhodes, continued their water thin bodies, their split ends, and the stupid way they tucked their lies into their shirts below the third button. He did not understand why there was a New Moon on Monday or why they didn't go get a burger if they were Hungry Like the Wolf. He loved Birgitta, and so he suffered. She came to his house and redecorated his room with pictures of the band. Often, when they would make out, he would catch her with her eyes open staring at Nick. He gave her hickies of insecurity, in case Mr. Rhodes should happen into town. She began to shop for his clothes, as well as choosing influential reading from the library, the perfect dance albums from the shops, and the best Miss Clairol formula to use on his head. He was introduced to all her friends and served as an escort to Duran Duran birthday parties, where each of the girls sang their favorite album in honor of the birthday boy, read stories about themselves and their Duran husbands, and ate cake and ice cream. Sture always felt awkward at such gatherings, but his silence was accepted as an adorable personality quirk of the first boyfriend in the girls' clique. Birgitta slept with her phone off the hook, so that she could listen to Sture sleeping. One night he woke up at 3 a.m., turned on his light, and left his room to use the toilet. Birgitta woke up too, dressed in her BK uniform, and" was at his house in just under five minutes, fearing he was about to sneak out to another girl. They never did "it," because Birgitta was saving herself for the day when Nick himself would knock on her door. If Sture was a woman, he would have John Geese's love child. As the years passed, Duran Duran fell apart. The band fractured into solo projects and movie scores, including John Taylor's arted out debut, "I Do What I Do To Have You" from the 9-1/2 Weeks soundtrack. Roger Taylor retired and bought a farm, Andy Taylor's hair began to resemble John Bon Jovi's, and Simon, Jon, and Nick tried to reorganize. Meanwhile, Sture and Birgitta bought leather jackets, got into the Smiths, and let their hair grow out. Having "outgrown" Nick, Birgitta vowed to learn all the words to Morrissey's first album and to always be faithful to Sture. At junior college, Birgitta mandated Sture in a box in her advertising class, and it's commonly believed they each had an air tank filled with the other's breath for when they were separated. Once, Birgitta was cornered in the ladies room while the headbangers searched her purse, believing Sture was hidden inside. He wasn't, but they did find his underwear. Wordcater 75 And then, finally, a freak accident occurred. Duran Duran, minus Roger and Andy, was on the comeback trail. A mistake landed them a gig at the junior college cafeteria (the theater was booked for the night). Sture and Birgitta, however, had a plan to lose their virginity that night, and the couple checked into a room at the local hotel. Duran Duran, of course, had checked into the very same hotel minutes earlier. At 7:00 p.m., Birgitta requested a Pepsi. Sture, not wanting to ruin the mood, agreed to fetch one. Across the hall, Mr. Rhodes was experiencing the most unpleasant eyebrow tweezing of his life (so bad, in fact, that he considered simply shaving lines into them like rap artists). He left his room at 7:01 to get ice for his plucking pains. At 7:03, as Simon LeBon slept and John Taylor did James Bond impersonations in front of a full-length mirror, Sture got lost in the hallways following his own celebrity idol, Eve Plumb, the talented actress who portrayed Jan on The Brady Bunch. At 7:05, as Brigitta began to file her nails in anticipation of Sture's return, Nick, too, got lost in the hotel's vastness. Sture never suspected that as he discussed polyester and plot lines with Ms. Plumb, Nick Rhodes was knocking on his girlfriend's door. ««««»»»» Shane Van Veghel MERETZ WAS TIRED OF STANDING Meretz was tired of standing. It felt as though she'd been doing it forever. Carefully, she squatted down. Meretz hated watch and its endless hours of solitude and silence. The enure affair was worthless as far as she was concerned. She scanned the rubble below her perch. Nothing moved, there was just miles of motionless chunks of what used to be buildings. At least the dust had finally all settled, she reflected, it had made the nights so eerie. Now it was just nigh over ruins. Meretz huddled down into her warm cloak. She wished someone would find a way to turn the power back on. But, then again, what would be the point? There wasn't anyone to run the TV and ratio stations. She doubted that they'd even be able to find any TVs'or radios that still worked anyway. The stars were out. They seemed dim. Meretz remembered when they had still shone bright, back when she still had parents. Now, she had the scavengers and she guessed they were all right, except they stuck her out on stupid watch. (continued) 24 Spnng. 1991 Meretz Was Tired of Standing, continued The only things that moved out in the rubble now were four- legged, not two. Well, she figured, it wouldn't be long before her replacement showed up. Her stomach growled and she quickly quieted it with a swig of water from her Gl-Joe canteen. WaLcr, Meretz so desperately wanted to take a hot bath with loads of bubbles. Unfortunately, good water was scarce and the oldest of the Scavengers wouldn't let anyone waste it. She hated being dirty. Her clothes were old and tom and she hated them too. She wanted the old days when she had pretty dresses, crisp new blue jeans and white canvas tennis shoes. Footsteps behind her brought her back to the present. She slowly got back up and turned around. A scrawny boy, not quite her age, stood before her. "Okay, Meretz," he said, "you can go back now." Meretz nodded. "Be careful, Rocky," she said sarcastically. The boy smiled, took her place and then saluted her. Meretz returned his salute and began her climb down to the ground. All the way back to homebase, all she thought about was a bowl of warm soup and a long night's sleep in warm blankets. David Tieman ««««»»»» Bethany Jackson BEAUTIFUL SUICIDE I saw suicide standing in the shadows of my mind A beautiful man in black sardonically whispering my name His long arms outstretched to embrace my weary body Regret like cobwebs clung to his emaciated form. A glint of hope reflected off of his features It was then that I recognized the unmasked creature The flesh of hell and beauty was smiling^ . Carving into cold stone my tortured destiny ■«, Cold wind blew into my isolated soul His breath was seeping into my skin His form drew closer Until he was covered with the dampness of my tears A gloved hand caressed my face Tempting me to fall into infinity Then he pressed his chilled lips to mine And I felt the silk of a coffin surround me. SMOKING SYNDROME Relaxing With a cigarette in my hand Turning my teeth yellow And my lungs black A world of fog Known as my room Bright lights are shining But they can barely see though I look forward to the day When I can turn on the fan, Open the windows, And walk away But until then, I'll relax with a cigarette in my hand Turning my teeth yellow And my lungs black Steev Custer ACCOMPANIMENT: KEY OF C IN THIRDS Every day at 3:45 she comes out of her office building, crosses the street, and enters her house, jusi two doors down from me. Every day at 3:45, I walk out onto my balcony and sit in the shade of my big yellow umbrella and watch her. I could study her for hours taking notes on her eyes, quizzing myself on the thoughts in her mind, experiment with what we would say if we ever met. At precisely 4:30, she comes out of her house and waits for the bus to come sweep her off to meet friends for a movie, or meet her boyfriend for a romantic dinner by candlelight. At 4:35, the bus comes, and I go inside to enjoy a nice cold shower. Once, a long time ago, I called her. When she answered the phone, however, I lost my courage and had to hang up before I said hello. I keep telling myself we will meet someday, but I know it's better this way. I would be too nervous and I would make her hate me, just like the rest of the world does. After my long, cold shower, I tuck myself into bed, for at the stroke of nine. she'll stroll by my window on her way to work. Wordeater 75 25 Spring, 1991 Jameson Turner THE THREE-LEGGED JOURNEYMAN Up ihe down road Round the bend Goes ihe three legg'd journeyman Two feet solid on the path One foot wand 'ring in the grass Hup-two Hup-two pounds his senses Swims a river leaping fences Signs stars sun maps All the same On charted roads there is no gain Or so whispers his third leg Now where'd it go? Oh, back again So while the two march stead'ly on The third leg stops beside a pond The two perplexed, which road to choose? The third is climbing for a view Ant at the journey's end this man A traveller, weary, tho' but safe Rethinks the path he's trodden o'er Decides that of the distant shores He's seen in all his wand'ring days The third has seen the sweetest way He casts the two, wayside they fall Hops down the trail, and crying call The two forgotten in the bush And vain and unheard is their cry Until another happens by A traveller far from home is he With legs all spent, near life they be Spies in the bush the sorry pair Great day! Such fine legs lying there Gathers up the healthy limbs And walks, as if at first again Martin Nieznanski STRANGE It is strange How the world's trapped Inside the grains Of wood Come to life When you are captured By the vices Of boredom ««««»»»» Wordeater 75 Nicole L. Byrnside A RECIPE FOR WAR One cup of hatred A tablespoon of greed. Sift in some madness A pound of indifference. Also you will need: Your brother Your uncle Your father Your son and All the body bags You can get your hands on. Toss them all together and Flambe your results for a Smorgasbord of unlearned lessons. Maria Mellinger THE POETRY PRIZE Consonance is my cupid — He likes me, I'm lucky. He locks me in his arms And stabs an arrow of vowels Into my back. Assonance dances with me. He receives me in music deep And I flee reality In tap shoes. Alliteration always asks For another night And I answer "No, I must go," For rhyme is a wicked lover Pulling me away from the others. 26 Spring. 1991 Judy Belfield SUMMATION When ihe last things are taken from my house I will walk barefoot across the dining room floor and hear its complaints. 1 will know again the terrible thrum of wasted dancings from the beginning to this place; in between there were moments of joy my ignorance allowed — they have all dissolved. When the last things are wrenched from their places I will hear them gasp; I will be so sorry. Frank Sanchez THE MATTER OF ME Wanderlust rises, rages, scorches every atom of my being, consuming the obtainable moment No time left for dreams. Unknown shores seethe ceaselessly upon a barren Earth. Starry sky and choppy seas awaiting a new birth. My eyes rise to the skies wrought with the weight of tears, placed there by uncertainty, afflicted with timeless fears. A shadow of who I was with a figure of who I'll be, plead for an answer to settle the matter of me. Holly Bruns COCKTAIL PARTY CONVERSATIONS The Bullshit Elite Philharmonic, think polite conversation symphonic. Discussions are never laconic, They lull me to sleep like a tonic. But somehow I find it ironic, My attraction to them is quite chronic. Maria Mellinger MY LITTLE SAWDUST HEART My little sawdust heart Was tired, My coat threadbare, And I dreamed of a dress Like the nursery Magic Fairy's — A dress of pearl and dew drops With the power to warm me — But instead I awoke To your kiss, Sweet as the fruit from The raspberry thicket And Real as I wanted to be. Terry Rogers DREAM OUTBACK Wild dogs hunt — somewhere Red lizards click or hiss While crickets hold chorus. I have everything for awhile With God at my side. I'm thinking much clearer Keeping tempo with a stick. Mostly sandwiches that I've packed I'm sure that I can't hunt I even have some soda To offer up, like a kill. Sweat in the darkness I'm really quite surprised. It is very cold But I am very close now. Laying on my back Waiting for the times when the clouds part The stars to see, to let be. ««««»»»» Wordeatcr 75 27 Spring. 199: Jeffrey Michael B Jeff DeGrave CREDO (CITIES IN DUST) ihe city was alive with light Innocent to the bustle within like an ignorant child at play, She breathed in and sighed. the city was built on a lake Feeding her night and day new in the garden. She swam out endlessly. her lights gleamed without end The city found many acquaintances tourism flourished and the economy burst Peace between races and sides. her crime was low — the youths occupied She had harmony this city was harmony And her insides delighted. but people grew careless The factories dumped her factories and peoples — waste The government found greed. the citizens met crime The green life forfeited for black metal her people overspent — wanted too much — Experienced all none responsibility. She was beautiful fro afar She was perfect from afar She was ugly and defiled inside She was dying and old inside. Everyone got a piece Everyone played her up She was stupid, tainted, And, still — innocent. But unpure and prostituted Exploited, tossed away But She is human, and I caused everything. Maria Mellinger I TRY TO REMEMBER OUR PAST I try to remember our past And fantasize our future But the present is a Spoiled little boy Pulling on my coat sleeve And begging for my love. MY FRIEND SEINE (WARNING: The following poem contains French pronunciations. Pronounce such words as follows: Seine="sen" Notre Dame="No truh Dom" femme="fom" Cite="see-tay" Louvre="Loov" I stare into space with my nose at the glass Hypnotically adrift in yesterday's past. My face at the window, like on that old DC -9 Before I knew you from the Rhone or the Rhine. Do you think of me and remember when? Goodbye, my friend. River Seine. When will I see you again? It's these silver rains that remind me of then. Goodbye, my friend. River Seine... We first met at night just beyond Notre Dame When you waved me away from some Parisian femme. You flowed through Cite at your own prescribed pace Motionless for a moment so we'd meet face to face. Some two-odd years ago, it must have been... Goodbye, my friend. River Seine When will I see you again? It's these silver rains that remind me of then. Goodbye, my friend. River Seine. I'd lean on the bridge as the current would move — An impression in blue, you'd water-color the Louvre. You could do it all with only babbles for words. But the message you told me was like none that I'd heard. If only those hours we could suspend... Goodbye, my friend. River Seine, When will I see you again? It's these silver rains that remind me of then. Goodbye, my friend. River Seine. Thinking back how I slaved and saved five-thousand francs. The richest mem'ry of all was sitting freely on your banks. But today I sit and glare into this grey Believing tomorrow can repeat yesterday. Someday soon this rain will end... Goodbye, my friend. River Seine. Will you still be the same as you were back then? Maybe, someday, I can't say when. Hello, my friend. River Seine, Bonjour, mon ami, Fleuve Seine... « « « « » » » » ««««»»»» Wordeater 75 28 Spring. 1991 Bethany Jackson 700 WAYS TO DIE Can't make it through any more A twisted word and a twisted soul Soundless cries drive me to the floor My heart is little more than an empty hole A void 1 though you could fill Break open my protective shell All you've done is take away my will Send me through 700 shades of hell Push away my smiles and tears I can't understand you Can't understand these horrible fears What is left to do? Open my veins to the night Give you my sorrows to pine Because I have no desire to fight This depressive coat of mine Maria Mellinger MY YOUNG FRIEND My young friend turned to me in awe. "You have an alleyT he asked, So full of wonder that yesterday's neighborhoods Are being lived in today; that they are not A yellowed photo secured in an ancient album With pieces of crackling tape. At only 20, I pity the young For their lack of backyard jungles and Front porch dungeons and someone's Great Grandmother's name scratched into the Hard wood floors of a corner bedroom. David Tieman UNTITLED Southern Kansas in the midst of June A little boy is tired of feeling blue He's got a knife in his pocket And a gun in his hand Sick of living in a place He doesn' t understand Dawn Mooney ISN'T IT STRANGE? Isn't it strange How one tiny, insignificant event Can ruin your entire day? Or how one wrong word Can send your spirits Spiraling downward Or how the taunting voice Of a busy signal Can drive you to frustrated insanity (Or is it just an insane frustration?) Isn't it strange How I want to hit my head against the wall And scream obscenities And throw heavy objects But all I do is isolate myself And write a poem. (Maybe I should try throwing things.) « « « « » » » » Holly Bruns WINTER BLAHS Roadside snow, slushy and grey, Melting onto surface where I walk. Seeping through the leather of my shoes, Channeling through the pores of my skin, Merging with my blood through osmosis, then Uniting with my soul. I should have worn galoshes. « « « « » » » » Donica Rampa GONE They say when love dies you cry a thousand rivers as if there were no tomorrow. They say your heart is broken as you drown in deepest sorrow. They say there is an emptiness, a cavern in your soul — Your heart is full of loneliness — a dark and empty hole. But as he walks away from me, as dusk turns into dawn — I have no tears to cry for him — Only glad that he is gone. Wordeaicr 75 29 Spring. '.90! Martin Nieznanski BRAINWASHED My cortex was unraveled and Given to scurrying hands that Held styluses Used tor rewriting the epic of My personality on my Unwound frayed brain. Terry Rogers SEPTEMBER 1988 On the silent wings of love Where we challenge the challenge of being one Scorned by the being of everyone Helpless to the bittersweet taste of idle time On the silent wings of love We reach with paralyzed motion — Only to watch talk take all command Afraid to say "goodbye" to youth We scamper to pick up pieces of puzzles that deserve no completions. On the silent wings of love We hold on for the ride Too timid and mindless To fly our own course On the thunderous wings of love We hold our ears and close our eyes — Too afraid of the beauty of it all "■> ■ Jeff Hicks CHILD'S PLAY To taste the air of a distant realm To explore the mysteries of your own backyard To make a marble into a crystal ball To fly in space Or hide in your fort of sofa cushions Using the ideas of a five year old Reality is nothing more than child's play. Wordeater 75 Tina M. Plunk GOING EAST ON INTERSTATE 80 Going east on Interstate 80 only a few miles more to my exit where I get off to go home. I miss your laugh and how your smile warms me. How I want to keep going on to you. It would only take a couple of hours. Long hours I know... But I turn south and head home. Walk in the door and feel so wrong. "Where have you been?" He asks roughly I begin to cry My heart is still going east on Interstate 80. Maria Mellinger SOMEWHERE OFF OF COUNTY LINE ROAD Although we're supposed to be adults And face this relationship in Stuffy established time honored ways, I'm having more fun parking Where the prom queens hide And kissing through my Saturdays. Holly Bruns HIDDEN IN A PLASTIC GROOVE Spin the record. Let it play out the recalled pieces of my past. Each song connected to something I once could touch. History pulled from sound. Floating bits of who I was, all the stages of my life. Invisibly cut into grooves of plastic. I'm found again, under the pressure of a needle, with a diamond tip. ««««»»»» 30 Spring, 1991 Enc Jensen Jeff Hicks A SOLITARY SHADOW Angel of the night Teases me with light Calls me to her side To vanish from my sight Hides beneath the day Leads me far away Shows me where to hide Needs not a word to say She sails by too fast One shadow to cast Whispers she's my bride And captures my past Chris Derrick I STILL BELIEVE I do not believe in a Supreme Being I misplaced that last night I do not believe our leaders are right I have seen too much corruption I do not believe our future is bright I have seen too much destruction I do not believe that good always wins I have seen it fail quite often I just believe that I must do What I believe that I must do What I believe is right and true In spite of how some others act I still believe that that is fact Dawn Mooney MEMENTOS LEFT ASTRAY Momentos left astray Ardfacts from Someone else's museum Now remind me Of events And emotions Long over Yet I hold onto My collection of the past TECHNICOLOR SILENCE In my arms You fell asleep And all I could do was look at your face In it I see rest I see your dreams coming alive In vivid color in my mind Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, I brush the hair from your closed eyes I feel the softness of your skin You roll over You reach over and pull yourself closer I feel your warmth I lean back and close my eyes And slowly join you in your technicolor dreams. Steev Custer PUNK ROCK LOVE POEM OR MORRISSEY SINGS THE BLUES I'm wondering where you are as I carve your initials into the silky flesh just below the base of my left hand. The Smiths record you brought me whispers to me as I sit in the darkness of my basement room, wondering if you are mourning the loss of this magnificent love too. Shortly after you left me, I dressed myself in black from head to to and lit candles in remembrance of the wonderful times we spent together, stealing tapes from the record store, swearing at old people at the mall, and shaving our heads to show the world our love for each other. As I recall all these acts of passion, I suddenly realize that we had a stronger love than even I understood Now I'll take myself off to bed, for tomorrow I'll dress in black again, and walk past your house to try and catch a glimpse of you, or maybe I'll follow you to work or to your friends' houses to see how many times you notice me, and give me a speech on how immature I am. GOD, I LOVE YOU. ««««»»»» ««««»»»» Wordeater 75 31 Spring. 1991 Jeff DcGrave David Tieman THERE'S THAT BIG, BLACK TRUNK There's that big, black trunk that sits in the corner of my closet. It probably knows more about me than I do. It hides those high school days, The days of my first apartment And the days of reckless abandon since. I'd love to open it and listen to those stories all over again, But someone might be listening... Maria Mellinger YOU WERE SUCH A PRETTY BOY You were such a pretty boy With your closed eyes and your Dancing body that never left the Chair in the corner of the bar. Jazz kissed your forehead Like the girl you could never have And sweet cigarettes held your hand. Draft beer eased you into dreams AS you eased your too young body Into the bed in your parents' home, Imagining the day when you Would see icebergs and whales Swimming between Alaska and Russia And kiss the cold air above the ocean, Brushing away the grime of our little town That nighdy touches your lips. Steev Custer IF I COULD ONLY SAY HELLO If I could only just say hello If I could only just walk up to her and tell her how I feel, than maybe I wouldn't be so hollow on the inside. She would be everything in the universe. She would be everything I've always wanted everything to be. She would be the echo of my screams, the answer to my questions, the shaft of light from which the universe revolves. If I could only say hello. Wordeaier 75 32 LOTTERY LOSER In the mist That fell From the sky Glittering In the presence of a streetlight Like raindrops Only softer And less outspoken, A long-haired man Carrying the losing ticket Of a recent Vietnamese lottery Walked in silence And darkness Down a bumpy path Which was created For only the single shining eye Of a train To see. Donica Ram pa BUBBLE-GUM PINK Bubble-gum pink and candy hearts, Laughter rippling like a stream, Melodic voices stop and start, Content to sit and dream. Up and down with ebbs of emotion like the glittering waves of a golden ocean. A glance, a grin, a silly giggle — laughter carefree, like a puppy's wiggle. Reds and purples and baby blues, colors bursting in joyful hues. A snicker, snort, chuckle, wink — Candy hearts and bubble-gum pink. Maria Mellinger HE LOADED UP HIS SIX GUNS He loaded up his six guns Packed a metaphor a minute, Gave me a simile — or was it a smile? — Rapid fired images into the air And named one after me. ««««»»»» Spring. 1991 Martin Nieznanski Dawn Simmons THE DREAM CATCHER The wicked thoughts that lurk behind my eyes Sometimes While I sleep Become ensnared in its spider-like web And, as a black stone, climbs downward Where it falls off a feather As a silver drop of morning David Tieman DEAR ABBY Dear Abby, I have been happily married to "Bo" for five years. However, I am in love with his best friend's sister's third cousin's dentist's niece's prom date's neighbor. We secretly call each other at work once a week, and we only see each other once every six months at the best friend's sister's third cousin's dentist's office. Abby, I thought for sure that we would never be found out, but I was wrong. What should I do? Signed "Bo" Knows I was awake for days worrying, torturing myself to find an answer that I thought was lost Now I rest quietly, calmly with my eyes closed enjoying the dreams that I have created David Tieman THE CANDY STORE Sweet and sticky Sexual candy An assortment of flavors to choose from Tempting, tasty Hot and spicy An extravaganza of taste on your tongue So many sizes So many shapes I believe I have fallen in love With Suckers and lollipops Rock candy, lemon drops And the infamous everlasting gum. Dear "Bo," Just do it! ««««»»»» Eric Jensen INWARD FORMLESSNESS I have a shape I have a name I have a face To hide my brain I see the world I feel the cold Raised to know I'll soon grow old I need to find A place inside To give me time And lead the ride « « « « » » » » Maria Mellinger HE COUGHED UP INTELLIGENCE He coughed up intelligence Choked on laughter Tripped on his ego And fell to the floor. We all noticed But didn't move to help him Because we enjoyed the Idiotic silence So much more. Wordeater 75 33 Spring, 1991 Jeffrev Michael B Donica Rampa COLD FIRE BEKRIVES (Selected Verses) IX Edge my knife With the colors and visions Of bursting seashells Of forgotten shores An opening — yes! — An opening of wings Take flight into the sightless beauty Of scales and more Of ornate headdress (Like the peacock, it sings) Show us your splendor — Edge my knife xn Do I see Heaven or Earth Above me? Is Hell, my penitence served? I want to ascend the bedrock — My cell — (to feel the winds of life again!) Although I cannot feel, I see this light; This heat Amazed and puzzled I await my fate • XV This house on water Floats silently through the night Under the whole of the moon. And is suspended for eternity And is suspended for all to see Save for the dying grace of thee xxn Of a thousand roses She makes her soul Whirling through the air Like the dust. And her train behind — Banners and ribbons. In this empty room She is married to the sunlight xxm I long to meet her lips with mine But the ice that she is made of Quietly folds over — and all that remains Is her shadow glistening with frost. « « ««»»»» The flame within me rises, like an ocean swell, the heat is like to drown me — I know it, know it well. 'Tis like a demon's hellfire or Neptune's icy fish. Like lava, hot and flowing, through an ocean mist. To move and ebb in nature Ride waves and walk through Fires. Tumbling with every riptide, flaring with that of pyres. This is life, and I am living, savoring each moment. A scorching wave or cool wet flame — glad that I have known it. « « « « » » » » Dawn Simmons RED LEAF We spent that Autumn together with colorful laughter and smiles that glowed with the setting sun and the rising moon and became camouflaged into the leaves that danced circles around our icy cold feet. And one year later the sight of a single red leaf shivering on the pavement brings back every enchanting memory that I was sure I had forgotten. « « « « » » » » Steev Custer CALAMITY Sam had always told me to call him when the thoughts came, or when I was scared, but my parents couldn't afford to pay him right now, so I just decided to stay right where I was. After all, I thought, I'd been here when I lost my first (continued) Wordeater 75 34 Spnng, 1991 Calamity, continued David Tieman love, I've been here when I was too sick to leave the house, and I had been here for all the other major catastrophes that seemed to plague my incredibly unnatural life. Oftentimes I lay here and think that, when the good times are so few and far between, my blankets will protect me from the atrocious episodes which seem to contaminate my existence. I sometimes wonder if my pillow absorbs my each and every tear and incorporates them into its comfort and reassurance. I suspect that one day I'll waken here in my bed, and find myself incapable of leaving its security and warmth. Maybe, just maybe, that day is Today. Holly Bruns SYNTHETIC TOMB I want order. I demand order. No more chaos. Just order. I must straighten, and organize, and wipe away the dust. Make it clean. Everything in its place. Wrap it in cellophane, quick, before the dust has time to return. Draw the blinds, just so. Keep the sun off the fabric. Keep my life hidden indoors. If you draw the blinds just so. Neighbors and friends looking in Will see only the bare white ceiling. Clean. White. Straighten the portraits on the wall. Lopsided portraits are intolerable. Straighten them carefully. I don't want fingerprints, on the portraits, or the gilded frames and glass encasing them. Give me clean white order. « « « « » » » » Wordeater 75 SHE'S GOT THE BLUES I saw her standin' in the neon lights on the comer by the liquor store Not a dime in the bottom of her blue jean pockets and a child waitin' to be bom Underneath her worn and faded jacket lie a botde from the night before It was filled to the top with memories of love that was shattered and torn She's got the blues Livin' in and out of doorways she never had a place called home Fell asleep under the stars at night so she never was really alone But sometimes she's lie and wonder if there was a place where dreams come true Just a date with a botde of Southern Comfort and her best friends, Rhythm and Blues I saw her standin' in the neon lights on the corner by the liquor store Not a dime in the bottom of her blue jean pockets she felt she could live no more Holly Bruns AM I ERSATZ DRAGON, OR IS IT YOU? You are someone I've come to know. That quasi-confident, sanguine laugh, Those pseudo-intellect, hollow phrases, I once thought funny and powerful, Are nothing more than a smoke screen Blown out through your mouth and nose Without passion or heat. A cool, smoky, audible fear Of my honest probing of who you are. Deep inside. A simple dragon looming large. Without his flaming breath, To face the sword of truth. Just smoke, To choke, And make my eyes water. ««««»»»» 35 Spring, 1991 Eric Jensen Holly Bruns LITTLE BROWN BABY I held a little brown baby today; A clinging, brown-eyed, little brown baby, today. He pulled his brown-baby arms around my neck and held on tight. He laid his beautiful bristly head on my shoulder close to my neck, Where my heartbeat could be measured by touch. He held on to me like my own babies never did. I loved that baby at once. I loved the smell of him. Loved him in a way I never loved my own babies. We held each other tight, And interlaced our souls for only minutes, but I became brown in those minutes. I was one with that baby. He didn't seem to mind my pinkness. Our souls danced in a color of their own. An hour later, when the baby was gone, my soul still felt the brownness wrapping tightly around it. Fusing with pink. My soul is no longer pink. I loved that little brown baby today. David Tieman BUBBLES I was inside a bubble For weeks Formed by a child With a bottle of soapy water Who loved to chase them And Pop them But He could not reach the one that surrounded me And I was caught by the wind Only realizing today That I possess a pin UNCONSCIOUS TOMORROW A lie that began as a promise, Hangs heavily in our minds, A time that began as a vision, Reminds us of the signs. The thought of a world without life, Like the thought of space without time, The shadow that wanders our future, Blocked out by a sun that won't shine. Steev Custer I REMEMBER HOME... "Do you remember when, not long ago? It was a place where all the kids could go. It was the place that got us our start, and the sound still rings in our ears and in our hearts. Thanks to everyone who saw and felt and cared, it's the end now, still I'm glad I was there..." Fractured Adolescents I remember Home, with its seemingly magical disco lights mat held hands and danced with us over checker board tiled floors. The music screamed out of gargantuan speaker columns at 150,000 decibels, uniting us in hatred for the outside world. I remember all the friends that lied, and that most of cried at least once, and some of us even more. Most of all, I remember people that said, "You guys sound really good," even when we sounded like shit. But other than the friends and enemies, music and good times, I know I'll always remember everything, because I remember Home. « « « « » » » » JeffDeGrave WHY WOULD A MAN CLIMB A MOUNTAIN? Why would a man climb a mountain? Because it is there. Why would a man walk a straight line? Because he has to. Why would a man listen to a woman? Because she is there, telling him he has to... Wordcaier 75 36 Spring, 1991 Jeff Hicks DANCE Paint your land with watcrcolors Dabble in the oils to paint your skies Dust the wind the tint of your skin Cleanse the open boundaries with your eyes Show me the distance Show me the way Stopping nighttime Day after day Give me a hint of friendship And I'll give you all respect Always working way too hard Something there to always fret In your hand you hold my heart Do with it what you may The harder you hold on to it The longer that I'll stay Dance the dance of running water Wear the shoes of an older man I'll teach you the steps of the running water Any way that I possibly can You tell the clouds to go away Hoping the dreaming just might last You feel the wind running past your face Gaining speed, don't move too fast I wish your future I know your past It doesn't matter It's the dreams that last So paint your color picture Dabble in the blue Please remember me For I'll always remember you Bethany Jackson ALONE WITH HIM (THE BLACK ROSE) Licking sugar from his fingertips he bids me to follow His heart and his step are hollow As he wanders into a path overgrown with brown grass It is difficult for me to pass The temptation of the twilight and of him Of the weeds and growth that beg for a trim Catching an air of his sweetness ahead I allow myself to be led Into the stench of a decaying thick I see a black rose I desire to pick Afraid of the thoms and of losing my guide I leave the flower and step aside To where I last glimpsed his romanuc cape But I fear I've lost sight of his lanky shape Dressed in black like the rose Then a euphoric scent tempts my nose He is not far from me His form stands beyond a willow tree Afraid of the thoms and of losing my guide Gingerly I step away and try to hide David Tieman NOTHING No walls No life No evermore No place to wander No peace or war Just nothing, but nothing, but nothing No worries No pressures Of what we must be No one to look up to Or recoil in envy Just nothing, but nothing, but nothing I know something you don't know Can't help flaunting a grin It doesn't exist But no one knows I know the way in... Wordeater 75 37 Spring, 1991 o • ) Ooucr Touioft. Cs^S.